You’ve got a great message, and you want it to go viral. Or in the very least, get the attention of a strong percentage of your target audience. To do that, you need your growing circle of active followers to share it on social media. How can you increase the odds of your followers not only clicking on your headlines, but also feeling compared to share the message?
While there isn’t a clear-cut method for success, there are some elements you can address to give your message the best possible chance of being shared.
Know your audience
For starters, identify who you want to find and share your content. What makes them tick? What are their needs, pain points, favorite activities, fears and deepest desires? Then, make a list of related words and phrases that would entice them to click.
A word of caution: Make sure the words and phrases you choose for your headline are relevant to the message you plan to deliver. No one likes clickbait.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are a few tools that can help. If you have a Google AdWords account, plug a few ideas into the Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool. If you don’t have one, register for free. It will be more than worth the effort to help you identify trends and solid keywords that will resonate with your audience.
Know your channel
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for success on social media. You’ll want to create content for specific channels rather than taking a scattershot approach to posting, pinning and tweeting the same thing everywhere across the internet.
While your main message can remain the same, the key is often in packaging. For example, if you want someone to share a tweet, you increase your chances by simply asking. Your request is four times as likely to be successful when you spell out “Please ReTweet” instead of just tacking on “RT.”
On Pinterest, your images are the stars, and as such demand top billing. Choose a headline worthy of the image. It doesn’t hurt to build curiosity, urging the viewer to click to find out exactly what’s on the other side of the action.
Facebook headlines matter, as well. Some people will automatically check their Facebook pages to see what’s new. Others sift through notifications in their email and will occasionally accept the invitation to login.
Pro tip: Make sure when readers do take the time to browse the page, your content stands out enough to get them to stop dead in their scroll.
Know your verbs
Just like some keywords are better than others, so too are verbs. Choose ones with punch. Keep them active. Make them count. In other words, use words with power. It wouldn’t hurt to put your English teacher’s advice into action by using appeals based on ethos, logos or pathos to persuade your reader to click or share.
Try including words that create a sense of urgency or a fear of being left out or behind. Or invoke a sense of peace with a solution to their dreaded problem, or a feeling of curiosity to learn more. Use words that establish credibility. With the right words, you’ll have them sharing out of your hand.
Know when to use hashtags
In addition to crafting thoughtful language, consider using hashtags. Including one or two can significantly increase your shareability. Just don’t over do it. Also, pay attention to what they really mean.
Consider the difference between #socialmedia #rocks and #socialmediarocks. Both will bring in people interested in social media, but adding #rocks by itself does not increase visibility among your key audience, so it doesn’t make sense.
Got all that? Here’s one final takeaway for you — take advantage of social influencers. What do they read? Get their attention in a headline, and you’re likely to reach their followers. You might just pick up a few of their audience members along the way.